For the last 3 years the NAPGC Men’s Scratch Championship has been played in late July to allow the Scratch winner to compete in England Golf’s Champion of Champions event held in early September at Woodhall Spa. The Scratch Championship is a 36-hole gross competition with the first 18 holes being played in the morning on the Bracken course as part of the Men’s Championship. Players with handicaps 9 and below then have the option of playing another 18 holes on the Hotchkin course in the afternoon for the Scratch Championship. This year we had a field of 31 for the Scratch of whom 21 were 5 handicap and below. A very strong field.
The weather was perfect for golf with both courses in near-perfect condition after rain the previous day. We did have a brief threat of thunder and a short heavy shower early in the afternoon but were expecting some very good scores. Not to be. Only Colin Johnson of Hainault Forest bettered par on the Bracken course with a gross 71 (par 72, CSS 75). On the Hotchkin course with a par of 73 and SSS of 74 the CSS went to 77 (Reduction Only). The Hotchkin is 6921 yards long and Woodhall Spa had held their club championship in the morning so maybe the white tees were as far back as they could go. Kris Farren of Rose Hill fared best by a margin on the Hotchkin with a gross 75. Second best were gross 78s from Dan Phillips (also Rose Hill) and Colin Johnson.
The Scratch is a 36-hole competition and the combined best gross went unsurprisingly (see above) to Colin Johnson with gross 71 on the Bracken and 78 on the Hotchkin. Runner-up was Charlie Wilkinson of Cheshunt with 73 and 79 respectively and 3rd place was taken by Dan Phillips of Rose Hill with 75 and 78. We do give a nett prize in this competition and that was won by Kris Farren with a nett total of 150 (77 and 73).
A difficult day then and it also turned out to be a very long day where we didn’t manage the prizegiving for the Scratch Championship until around 8:30 in the evening. We may need to revisit the format for this competition so comments welcome.
Finally I would like to thank the very efficient team of Ed and Jane Mitchell on the desk, John Booth on the tee and our two referees – Richard Beadell from England Golf and Stuart Cella, Chairman of Competitions for the NAPGC – both of them out on the course all day.
Colin Johnson (Hainault Forest) 2017 NAPGC Scratch Champion